National elections have produced a strong Board for the national cross disability peak body People with Disability Australia (PWDA).
The new Board took office at the 2013 PWDA Annual General Meeting celebrating a landmark year which saw robust campaigning on the Medicare Levy for the NDIS, a strong bipartisan voice in the recent Federal Election and was capped off by a membership surge of 274% in one year.
PWDA President Craig Wallace congratulated newly elected PWDA board members who all have disability. “People with disability deserve vigorous and dynamic elected representation to deliver an effective voice on issues which touch around one in five Australians. I’m thrilled to be leading such a strong team with new members hailing from WA, ACT, NSW and Victoria”.
- Samantha Connor is a current member of the WA Ministerial Advisory Council on Disability, a member of the expert group on Workforce and Sector Capacity on the National Disability Insurance Scheme, and expert committee member on the Stop the Violence Project, part of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children. Sam manages a portfolio around Access and Equity at the C.Y. O’Connor Institute and she is passionate about inclusion.
- Faye Druett is a longstanding member of PWDA who has experience working across the Board and on the staff of PWDA. Faye was a PWDA Executive Committee member in 2012 and 2013, holding Treasurer and Secretary positions respectively. She has also been convenor on several PWDA Advisory Groups including the Finance Audit & Advisory Group, the Devolution Advisory Group, the Governance Advisory Group and PWDA Enterprise Bargaining Agreement Working Group. Faye is passionate about the cross disability participation and inclusion of members in the organisation.
- Justin Ray has been a member of the ACT Disability Advisory Council and represented people with intellectual disability through roles with People First, PWD ACT and the National Board of Our Voice in Canberra. He is a filmmaker currently involved with the formation of Canberra’s First Ever Mixed Ability Forum Theatre Group and passionate about the rights of people with disability to independent community living.
- Milly Parker brings her national profile and experience representing people with disability on a range of Government Advisory Councils. Milly has been a strong voice in the NDIS Campaign campaigning up and down the country. She is a passionate and committed advocate with a strong focus on employment issues. Milly is a dynamic speaker, innovator and small businesswoman who founded her own niche market export company.
- Mark Tonga is a current director with the Assisted Community Living Board; a volunteer policy and advocate officer at Spinal Cord Injuries Australia; a finalist judge for the Better Business Partnership awards; a Liaison Officer for the Hearts in Union Ruby Foundation; a member of Willoughby Council’s Access Committee and ambassador for both the Lifestart Kayak for Kids and the 2013 Clubs NSW Heart of the Community Ambassador. His strong community-based experience representing people with disability is based in raising awareness and campaigning for disability rights.
At the first meeting of the new Board on Saturday 16 November the Board co-opted the following two members:
- Suzy Keene brings a strong background of creative expression coupled with grass-roots advocacy. She works in the public sector where she maintains a proactive voice around the employment of people with disability in inclusive environments.
- Thomas Banks runs his own specialised training in communicating with people with disability. He brings a strong creative presence to the PWDA Board with seven years in the arts sector.
They join existing Board members Stuart Mawbey, Kevin Boyce, Fiona Given, Irene McMinn and Kristy Trajcevski.
PWDA also appointed a new Board Executive, with Fiona Given becoming Vice-President. Fiona Given is also a newly elected member of the Board of the national peak body, the Australian Council of Social Services. Faye Druett was appointed as Treasurer and Kristy Trajcevski as Secretary.